November 15, 2017
Debby and Samson traveled to California from Hong Kong for an engagement trip. While they were here, they decided they wanted Los Angeles engagement photos!
One of the most noteworthy ways clients and I get connected is through my Wedding Wire page. I like Wedding Wire because it’s well-known by both vendors and engaged couples. As a result, it gives people a chance to see my style of photography, past sessions, my rates and more. That’s how clients who normally wouldn’t come across my name–like Debby and Samson!–and I get connected. I love the dynamic energy and surprise that these types of Los Angeles engagement shoots bring.
First of all, before their trip, Debby and Samson sent me a file of Pinterest photos they liked. Some were popular locations in LA. Others were poses they wanted to mimic or even specific geographic features like golden fields. This was especially helpful to me because Debby and Samson had never been to LA before. Getting a feel for what they wanted before we met to shoot allowed me to pick some great locations in advance.
I settled on the Grand Central Market, the Bradbury Building, Malibu Creek Canyon and El Matador Beach as our shooting locations after scouting. I’ve shot specific downtown LA engagement photos before and ones at El Matador but Debby and Samson wanted the flavor of all of LA. Then I met with Debby and Samson and we spent the rest of the day together while I took them from location to location. It was nice to spend more time with them than I would have been able to in just one spot. We built the price of travel into their estimate, so it would be more affordable and less stressful for them rather than renting a car. With so many spots to choose from, it felt like the most truly Los Angeles engagement photo session I’ve done yet!
I used the lighting of the time of day to determine the order in which we shot. Debby and Samson brought tons of stylish clothes. A lot of their pictures showcase their attention to detail, right down to the delicate lace or tweed stitching. And no one could fail to see their beaming smiles! They are both so photogenic that the vogue style and high-end framing came naturally to them. I think it yielded amazing candid and posed pictures in places that they’ll remember fondly. Whether they are looking over what to purchase in the market or dancing through the surf, their focus on each other shines through in an understated and delicate way.
My favorite moments of shooting Debby and Samson were the first times they laid eyes on each new location. They were stunned by the beauty of LA and kept telling me how each location looked “like a dream.” I was thrilled that my choices fit their desires so well! It was extra special to capture a couple experiencing something new–whether it was the cliffs of El Matador or the classic architecture of the Bradbury Building–together for the first time.
Tips & Tricks for Your Engagement Shoot
- Don’t just tell your photographer what you’d like broadly. If you have specific desires, try bringing in a picture! Knowing the environment, the mood or the colors that speak to you as a couple can really help me plan where to go and how best to showcase your love the way you want.
- Try new things! This was one of my first shoots in LA, and one of the longer ones I’ve done with a couple. Getting to know the city together when all of us were still new was really fun! It’s made me value the connections I’m able to build with clients even more. I want to know who you are as a person, so I can show you off to others visually in a truthful and thoughtful way–and besides, having an extra pair of hands around for a wedding or engagement party always comes in handy!
October 15, 2017
Kelly & Andrew’s Banyan Estate wedding took the best elements of traditions from the past and put a fun and unique spin on it that was all their own! Because I’ve known Kelly since 7th grade, this wedding was also a blast from my past! I was there to take their engagement photos, and to be there when she and Andrew celebrated their love was extra special to me.
The Love Story
The two say that they met by “being in the right place at the right time.” Kelly was playing volleyball competitively. She became close with her teammates and her teammates’ friends. Soon she got to know her teammates’ friends of friends and one of them was Andrew! Kelly remembers making the first move, introducing herself like a true extrovert. Then Andrew braved the homecoming dance once Kelly asked him to go. (Even though he says he’s not much of a dancer!) They were equally willing to take a chance on one another! As a result, the partnership they have today really shines. Both speak of how the other completes them. When it’s Kelly and Andrew talking it doesn’t even sound corny. You really understand how their strengths and personalities mesh to make a greater whole.
I was able to see the strength of Kelly and Andrew’s relationship myself on their wedding day. When Andrew saw Kelly for the first time, their love for one another was beaming out of both their smiles. Though the wedding had plenty of quiet and heartfelt moments, what Kelly and Andrew remember most is the excitement. It’s easy to understand why when you see their photos—these two and their loved one really know how to have fun! The understated elegance of the Banyan Estate was open and bright like it was giving extra room for their energy, and its vintage charm was complimented by the inflatable electric guitars and killer dance moves! Whether it was superhero socks or an unconventional first dance (“I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness!), the pair wasn’t afraid to try different things and incorporate what felt genuine to them and their relationship.
My favorite moment I captured was the single black-and-white photograph of Kelly and Andrew alone on the dance floor. The couple sent everyone out to get sparklers ready for their exit. Once they were by themselves, they shared a private dance. I stuck around to capture a few frames, but I snuck out as soon as I could. I loved the way Kelly and Andrew saved this special bubble of space just for the two of them. The way they are holding each other surrounded by the Banyan Estate’s tall ceilings with the high rafters and their beautiful rustic decorations really capture the mood of their love–genuine, gentle and supportive.
Tips & Tricks for Your Wedding Day
From the Groom:
Andrew’s tip for an engaged couple is straight and to the point: start planning as soon as you can!
From the Bride:
Kelly thinks it’s important for brides (and grooms!) to-be to know that their weddings don’t have to be “Pinterest Perfect.” She suggests focusing on the things that make you and your partner happy, whether that’s a choreographed rock song for your first dance or the presence of electric guitars. “When things happen (because they will,” Kelly says, “roll with it as best as you can. Our bathrooms ended up having to be shut down halfway through the evening, but luckily we had cars that drove us across the street to another restroom and I felt like a queen! It was a slight inconvenience, but we still found a way to make it fun.”
From the first look to the final kiss goodnight, it was amazing to see someone I’ve grown up with get married, and to get to capture that day and Kelly and Andrew’s love on film was a real honor!
Venue: Banyan Estate
Bride’s Gown: Aurora Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: AZAZIE
MOB/MOG Dresses: L.A. Bridal
Getting Ready Robes: Pretty Plum Sugar
Flowers: Violets In Bloom Florist
Makeup: In2yourbeauty Makeup Artistry
Hair: Styling by Michelle M.
Planning: Sincerely Yours Weddings & Events
Photography: Megan Abbott Photography
Videography: Johnny Lascha Videographer – CC Video Productions
Backdrops: KL Weddings & Events, LLC
Centerpieces: Janice Neal
Rentals: Rent Your Events
Catering: Executive Catering
Cake/Cupcakes: Cakes So Simple
Entertainment: Blue Skies Entertainment